Crabbieshack @ The Hat and Tun, Farringdon
The Hat and Tun is a top notch pub even on your average day / date, frequented by a bustling local crowd of design, web and tech geniuses. Unpretentious and cheering, it’s already a regular for many, and within a stone’s throw from Smithfield Market it has of late been proving itself a curious foodie’s haven, giving platforms to rising stars on the London street food scene. Earlier this year, their Morty & Bob’s Grilled Cheese residency pop-up proved an oozy booze-up, and they’ve only gone and done it again with Crabbieshack. Brainchild of former restaurant chef Douglas Robertson-Ritchie and Winner of the London heat at last year’s British Street Food Awards, the giant crab claw décor doesn’t exactly scream romance, but with the bar just a two-step away from the table that could all change.
An Old Bay battered soft shell crab in a bun with some extras. Maybe two. Be a girl and order salad instead of a bun (salad combinations are in fact pretty extraordinary) at the risk of seeming half-hearted. Menu options include fillings of sea aster and tartare sauce, sweetcorn salsa and lobster mayo, or for the fusion fanatics a sprightly combination of pickled cucumbers, chilli, coriander and wasabi mayo. Next time (and there will be a next time), I’m trying one with nori seaweed, apple, white cabbage, spring onion and Sriracha mayonnaise. At £9.50 a pop (or £7 for the plain jane crab roll), it’s slightly pricier than your average street fare, but you’ll get what you pay for and you won’t have to fight for space on the kerb. If you fancy a bit on the side, those who like their foraged sea vegetables are in luck!
As much as you’ve come for one reason and one reason alone, resist the urge to jump straight in. If you order your burger straight away, I can pretty much guarantee there will be very little in the way of preamble chat. Have a drink, have two, enjoy your Crabbieshack stack. Discuss. Repeat. And don’t forget, this is your chance to set the tone – crack open a bottle of champers or settle on a pint.
High probability of leaving with lobster sauce on shirt / dress / hair / beard. Although the upside to this is, of course: if your date can laugh and forgive you for your faults then you’ll know they’re probably worth keeping around a bit longer. If you only discover the creamy mess when you look in the mirror at home, you’ll know they’re not to be trusted. Win win.
2. Hmmm…crabs and pickled cucumber. Fun and scrumptious, yes. Sexy, not necessarily (though we know it takes all sorts).
Crabbieshack is at The Hat and Tun for just three nights, 13 – 15 May. See you there.